Coffee is one of the world’s most popular drinks, and also one of the most researched. Source: AFP
Harvard study, published in Molecular Psychiatry, finds genetic link to coffee
IT’S after mid-morning. Are you feeling like you need that second or third coffee yet?
If so, you might simply be responding to a genetic predisposition, researchers say. Not only that, but other genes are determining whether that level of caffeine intake is good or bad for you.
The research, led by the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the US, helps to explain why the same amount of coffee has different effects on different people and provides a genetic basis for future research exploring the links between coffee and health.
Their findings suggest that people naturally modulate their coffee intake to experience the optimal effects exerted by caffeine and that the strongest genetic factors linked to increased coffee intake likely work by directly increasing caffeine metabolism.
The researchers also identified a gene that increased coffee metabolism, which in turn reduced the risk of a heart attack in people who drank three coffees a day.
Marilyn Cornelis, research associate in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health and lead author of the study, said: “Coffee and caffeine have been linked to beneficial and adverse health effects. Our findings may allow us to identify subgroups of people most likely to benefit from increasing or decreasing coffee consumption for optimal health.”
Daniel Chasman, associate professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the study’s senior author, said: “Like previous genetic analyses of smoking and alcohol consumption, this research serves as an example of how genetics can influence some types of habitual behaviour.” The study appears in online journal Molecular Psychiatry.